Deputy Flouquet cannot give an assurance that massburn incineration won’t be an option for treating Guernsey’s solid waste

October 1st, 2010 by Bernard Flouquet

This is a transcript of the debate on Deputy Gloria Dudley-Owen’s Amendment on the Waste Hierarchy in the States of Deliberation on 1 October 2010.

Deputy Graham Guille asked PSD Minister Deputy Bernard Flouquet for assurance that Guernsey wouldn’t end up again with incineration to deal with our solid waste.

Deputy Graham Guille said “In common with many in this Assembly I was extremely relieved when this current waste strategy was embarked upon.  I was firmly opposed to incineration as a process and I have been very confident and very supportive of the work that has been carried out so far.  I still have that confidence in PSD’s ability to deliver but I have to say that confidence took a bit of a knock yesterday.  I asked the Minister for direct assurance that this process that he was engaged on would not result in us arriving back again at incineration and he said he couldn’t give that.  And the other thing which knocks my confidence is the fact that he needs a little bit of wriggle room.”

“Now I was very interested to hear that Deputy Le Pelley and Deputy Flouquet walking the same path together but I think the Amendment is to ensure we don’t end up the garden path again because we have been there twice already.  I would like that assurance today from the Minister if he has had a chance to think about it.  I am fully supportive of the process they are engaged on if it leads to the process this House understood was going to be in place following the Lowe Amendment – waste minimisation, reduction and re-use as a primary means of dealing with our waste arisings. If there is any chance, if there is any prospect that we could wind up in the same situation that we did prior to the February debate I urge the House to support this Amendment from Deputy Dudley-Owen because it is vital that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Let’s not go there again.”

Bernard Flouquet replied “I don’t know if I have prepared myself Mr. Bailiff but thank you for the opportunity.  I would just like to start with the comments that were made by Deputy de Lisle regarding the previous 2007, Environment’s waste disposal report, which came here to this Assembly and was accepted.  When Deputy Lowe laid her Amendment, which I believe was in February of this year regarding Deputy Kuttelwascher’s Requete I could have stood in this Chamber and said, to be flippant, here’s a waste strategy already performed for you – already written – all I have to do is to take the 2007 waste strategy and scrub out the word ‘massburn incineration’. Deputy de Lisle and I are both aware of that.  But no, it was based on the premise of waste minimisation, which my deputy sold, with respect, using that word to this Chamber, who gave us full support for us to go away and revise the waste strategy itself.  In the 2007 waste strategy the Waste Hierarchy was at the centre.  Indeed it has been at the centre of our thinking through all waste issues over the last, in my view, over the last eight years for sure, and it is still there today, and yesterday I said quite clearly that we as a department would not reneged on our commitment with the Waste Hierarchy being at the heart of our consultation process, and I think I speak on behalf of all the members of the Board, including Deputy Dudley-Owen as a member of the WDA.

I said before that I fully support … I fully understand, and I don’t argue the legal views that have been given here this morning by the Controller.  I fully accept that.

My real concern as I expressed again yesterday, and I express again here now, is the point that whilst it changes, it manifests itself through strategy, and comes to this Chamber, the political attitude and temperature could change, and that’s what happened – that’s what happened in February of this year.  The public temperature changed creating the political temperature to change, and we threw out a process that went forward under a States Resolution.  Exactly the same as what I am saying here today.  The probability is that could happen.  And I also said yesterday, I don’t believe anyone in this Chamber wants to see that occur again.  I certainly don’t.  And my view to Deputy Guille and his ……, could I give an assurance that massburn incineration would not come back into this particular consultation process.  What I have to tell Deputy Guille is this.  This process is going out to the people of Guernsey.  They will decide.  They will make that decision.  Nothing is ruled out.  Nothing is ruled in.  You cannot just pick and take technologies out because they don’t suit your preference.  You have to have the weight and the actual support behind the strategy by the people of Guernsey, and that’s what we are trying to achieve.  So Deputy Guille I can’t give you an assurance.  The assurance I gave you yesterday however where there was a few chuckles was that if we do come up with massburn incineration as the heart of our new strategy, as Minister of PSD I will leave it to my deputy to bring it back here as a report.  Now he can speak on his own with regards to whether or not he would be brave enough to do that politically.

But this has moved on.  We’re not on the threshold of this consultation.  We’re moving on at a pace.  It has taken us sometime.  We have accepted the criticism that has been levied against us with our consultation, with our communication with the people of the Island.  We are now moving forward very rapidly, and there has been a lot of work involved in this, and I am sure Deputy Dudley-Owen herself will agree that for people to actually grapple with this subject you don’t just open a file or a directive report and read it. You have to study it to understand what’s going to happen if you decide to take a particular route.  What is going to be the outcome?  And our common aim, and the common thread that we’ve got through this process, through Deputy Scott Ogier being the Chair of the WDA on this subject, the golden thread is to engage with the public of Guernsey.  It is their turn to tell us as a Government how they perceive, and what they wish to have as a strategy for our entire waste problem.  Not the other way round.  Not for half of this Government to say we don’t want massburn incineration and the other half to say ‘yes’ let’s have it.   We have gone beyond that.  We are now in the realms of allowing the public to indicate clearly to us exactly what they wish to have for their waste strategy in the future.  And I am confident, confident with the current process that we are adopting irrespective of whether it’s got a State’s resolution or not – you had confirmation from Deputy Scott Ogier this morning that he fully supports the Waste Hierarchy.  Every member of my board, I repeat, fully supports the Waste Hierarchy including Deputy Dudley-Owen, and I am positive most people in this Chamber support it fully as the heart of what we are trying to do in this consultation, but the concern, and I repeat, the concern that I have, we have activist groups in Guernsey who may not like what we deliver with our new strategy, and it takes it from the legal realm or area and puts it into this Chamber where somebody may stand and say on behalf of the people of Guernsey, you failed PSD.  You failed because you did not consider an environmental issue which we maintain is paramount, and that is the problem.  No more, no less.

The fact that Jersey, if I can, Mr. Bailiff, because the Chief Minister allows me because it was the Policy Council in actual fact who was charged under Deputy Rhoderick Matthews Amendment to look at the export to Jersey issue, and the Policy Council put in charge of that particular negotiations with Jersey, myself and Deputy Sirett, and indeed the Chief Minister will be included in that when we come to the final points, finer points of discussing with Jersey before we actually deliver the report to this Assembly.

I have given some thought, indeed Deputy Scott Ogier and myself have discussed this, and other members of the Board, where we have to introduce the particular point, if we arrive at a time with Jersey with an in-principal decision from both sides – their T&T department, and PSD and the Policy Council.  How we introduce this into this subject.  I think as a Board we all agree that if an in-principal decision can be reached, on both sides, and it can be effected, and whatever the costs are going to be to both jurisdictions then it could give us time to think about our strategy going forward and the opportunity to have probably a better fallout from the actual Hierarchy itself, and a better understanding for our community, and fundamental to that is educating the community about the way we wish to go on waste minimisation.  Now that could be a massive bonus to us – a huge bonus but, as I say, it is this Assembly at the end of the day that’s going to make that decision.  I don’t see the correlation between what we discussed regarding the Waste Hierarchy with this subject.  I have chosen, in my own mind, and it’s up to the Board, and up to this Assembly, when it comes forward, to treat it as a separate entity.  However, I think if and when it does come forward, if this Assembly accepts it because they believed there is benefit, then I am positive in my mind and I am sure my deputy also as I mentioned before, it could play a very vital part going forward in the future over our waste strategy itself.  And I don’t think I could say anymore quite honestly on that particular subject.”

Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher: “Sir, I would like to raise a point of order since he is having a break.  He mentioned early in his speech that the people of Guernsey will decide the strategy and that’s a misleading statement.  The only way they could do that would be through a referendum and we don’t have legislation in place to allow a referendum on this issue, and then at the end of his speech he then said this Assembly will decide so I think it is not the people that will decide at the end.  It is this Assembly that will.”

Deputy Bernard Flouquet:  “If we wish to play some form of game of semantics then I will change that and put it this way.

The people of Guernsey who are going to engage in the consultation over this subject will indicate to us as a Board, and the data will be available for everyone to see, not just members of this Assembly, but everyone wants to look at it, can see the data that we accumulate over this process, and that will indicate to us as a Board which way the population of Guernsey wishes to travel on this issue, and of course the final decision will be made in this Assembly.  I hope that suits the Deputy putting it in that fashion but if he wants a different version I can give him a different one.

Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher: “Approved.”

Deputy Bernard Flouquet: “I am sorry I missed that.”

Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher: “I just said approved.”

Deputy Bernard Flouquet: “Thank you very much.  Thank you.”

To listen to Deputy Bernard Flouquet’s speech please click on the MP3 file.  IMPORTANT: For some technical reason this audio file does not currently work using the FireFox web browser but it should work using Safari or Internet Explorer.

2 Responses to “Deputy Flouquet cannot give an assurance that massburn incineration won’t be an option for treating Guernsey’s solid waste”

  1. rosie dorey

    I have had to read this through several times to make head or tale of it and I have to confess that I am still struggling.

    What I do see though, is that Dep Flouquet says that they have always had the waste heirachy at “the centre of our thinking through all waste issues over the last 8 years”. And yet it did not stop them coming up with mass-burn incineration twice. Which Waste Heirachy were they following? Presumedly, this means that nothing has changed since pre Lurgi / Suez and now. And we are not meant to be worried?

    If he and the rest of his board, (the majority of who voted for Suez) really DO believe in the Waste Heirachy as the primary driver in a Waste Strategy, why on earth would they not vote for Dep Dudley Owen’s ammendment to ensure that it is followed?? I see nothing in this speech that explains that to me.

  2. Denis White

    I did not personally hear the debate but having read the above transcript (if it really is a true transcript!) then I can understand why Rosie had a problem understanding it!
    I certainly cannot and I find myself wandering what the PSD minister is really thinking?

    Perhaps he is thinking that a small incinerator could be part of the solution (hopefully not!) but instead of waffling on about Jersey and other irrelevant asides in such a muddled fashion why doesn’t he just stand aside and allow Deputy Ogier to represent PSD in his usual informed and eloquent style?!

    In that way I feel certain PSD would at least adhere to the spirit of the Waste Hierarchy.

    Better still for us all and PSD, just resign and let Ogier take over!

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